"I'm 90 years old. I have had a life. She hasn't had a life. You got to save that life," Shear explains

By Alex Heigl
Updated November 07, 2013 08:30 PM
Credit: ABC News

John Shear is 92. He’s about 5-feet-tall, he’s worked as a guard at the Santa Anita racetrack in California for 51 years, and he can still do 30 pushups at the gym every day – which is 30 more than we’ve ever done.

One day two years ago, Shear heard someone shout out that there was a loose horse in the paddock. “I went to one side and when I looked down, there was a little girl standing there,” he told ABC News. The little girl was Michael Key’s five-year-old daughter Roxy. Shear didn’t even take a beat before deciding to jump in front of Roxy.

“I knew I was going to get hit,” he said. “I thought there was a possibility I was going to die but you cannot stop and think, ‘Should I or shouldn’t I?’ There is a five-year-old girl. I’m 90 years old. I have had a life. She hasn’t had a life. You got to save that life.”

And that’s what he did. Shear was critically injured when the horse trampled both of them, and while Roxy was fine, the elderly man spent seven weeks in the hospital. When he got out, there was just one thing he wanted to do.

“I have always wanted to meet [Roxy] and I was so sad that I never got the chance to meet her when I got better,” he said. So two years later, Shear went to one of Roxy’s dance recitals, and was finally introduced to the little girl, now 8, whose life he saved.

“When her mother came over and hugged me and said, ‘You’re my daughter’s guardian angel,’ I felt wonderful,” Shear said.

Roxy’s father Michael sums up Shear’s actions best: “He didn’t save a daughter, he saved a family.”

Watch their heartfelt reunion below.